It’s outrageous that Trump has encouraged “outing” this putative intelligence source. And this latest attempt to deflect special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation only adds to suspicion that Trump has something very big to hide.

But it’s laughable to imagine Halper as a superspy, infiltrating the heart of the Trump campaign. Those who know Halper describe someone closer to a gregarious busybody and academic eccentric — an intellectual who jostles for first billing on a book cover — than a mole burrowing toward Trump’s inner circle. Like many underemployed ex-professors, he likes to gossip, and perhaps that made him a good intelligence source. But this is not James Bond.